Running a business of any kind takes diligence to ensure it satisfies all relevant regulations, from classifying employees to paying taxes. When your business is in the healthcare industry, such as running a pharmacy, the laws you must follow are even more numerous, complicated and ever-changing. It is easy to find yourself facing an audit, or worse.
You can reduce the chances of this happening, or at least going more smoothly, by being aware of compliance issues pharmacies commonly run into trouble with.
The government is vigilant in watching for fraudulent activity, especially when it comes to programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. It is imperative to properly bill patients and insurance companies for prescriptions. Mistakes can happen even to the best of us, so it can be helpful to develop your own quality assurance program for catching errors, reporting them and training staff so those errors do not happen again.
You may already know HIPAA protects patients' rights, but what you or your employees may not know are the intricacies of these privacy laws. For example, being able to access the health information of a patient does not mean access is automatic for the person's spouse or child.
Naturally, pharmacies are at a high risk of drug noncompliance. One way is through explicitly illegal activities such as the following:
- Selling medications without prescriptions
- Taking drugs for personal use (which can also lead to impairment on the job)
- Selling prescription drugs under the table
Regularly go through your inventory to recognize stolen medications and discrepancies in records ASAP. Another form of noncompliance may be unintentional: failure to dispose of pharmaceutical products and documents correctly. Hazardous materials require proper waste management to protect the safety of people and the environment. All records and labels also need proper disposal to safeguard patient privacy and prevent identity theft.